Legendary Director William Friedkin To Return With The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

"The Exorcist" and "The French Connection" filmmaker William Friedkin will be returning to feature filmmaking for the first time in over a decade, according to Deadline. The acclaimed director, who is considered a pioneer of the New Hollywood movement, hasn't made a narrative feature since 2011's "Killer Joe."

The new movie will reportedly be an adaptation of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial," which was both a Pulitzer-winning novel and a play by Herman Wouk in the 1950s. The story follows a naval officer and his colleagues through the process of being court martialed for a mutiny that took place aboard a potentially unstable ship. While the novel takes place during World War II, Friedkin's update to the story reenvisions it in a modern setting, set around the Strait of Hormuz near Iran. "24" actor Kiefer Sutherland is set to star.

Friedkin told Deadline that he's looked at several scripts over the past decade, but only this one really struck him as something he wanted to pursue. "I think about it a lot and it occurred to me that could be a very timely and important piece, as well as being great drama," he said. "'The Caine Mutiny Court Martial' is one of the best court martial dramas ever written."

The film pulls from a Pulitzer-winning story

The filmmaker, who is now six decades into his legendary career, will be far from the first person to adapt the story, although it hasn't been seen on screen since Robert Altman's 1988 adaptation. The first on-screen version dates back to 1954, and stars Humphrey Bogart as Lieutenant Commander Queeg, the man who is relieved of duty aboard a ship during wartime. Sutherland will take on this role in the new film.

Friedkin told Deadline why the project interests him, saying, "There never was a mutiny in the United States Navy. Herman Wouk virtually created the first and only mutiny in the United States military." He praised the writer's dialogue, calling it "terrific" and "right to the point," and also compliments Wouk's ability to create a legally accurate, trial-set saga from a historical situation that never happened.

It'll be interesting to see Friedkin's take on a court drama, a genre that was popular around the time that "The Caine Mutiny" first hit stage and screen. No two modern Friedkin films seem to be alike: before "Killer Joe," the Matthew McConoughey-led black comedy, the famed filmmaker made the 2006 horror film "Bug." His latest is set to begin filming in January 2023, per Deadline.